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Wasted Potential: How Agile Workplaces And Lean Product Development Allow Us To Reduce Waste

How many times have you sat in a conference room, and had your idea shot down? You’re trying not to let it show, but this concept you spent all night developing the pitch for, and daydreaming about, has been tossed aside like sour milk. Your idea was wasted, and the knowledge you accumulated while preparing was suddenly time you could have spent with family, friends, or even asleep.

Outside of the feeling of rejection taking a stab at your pride and emotions during the day, there is more to this idea of waste than what meets the eye.

It’s the same in the arts or in school, burnout running rampant, and without the necessary support to assist students and colleagues, amazing people are left to the wayside.

Wasted potential.

In business, waste doesn’t always manifest as the disheartened workers see their ideas cast aside, no. Waste can also manifest in barriers in communication; engineers, for example, are not always present during the conceptualisation phase, and this could mean that significant details are regarded as an oversight, or impractical design for the sake of aesthetics could make usability more complicated, things that an engineer by trade, would have potentially foreseen. Waste of time, waste of money, waste of energy. Something that companies which require quick turnarounds, really can’t afford.

Alternatively, waste can also present itself in the form of excessive and useless information being thrust upon employees. Being in a position where you are faced by an amassed quantity of extraneous details, completely irrelevant to the project at hand, or even the macrocosm for which it will become a part, we are in a position, where once again, our time is wasted processing the details of this information. Equally, money is wasted in paying employees to sit and listen to something which has no tangible qualities for their project.

You can also observe waste in the form of discarded knowledge due to poor admin. When a company simply files away the valuable information they gained from a venture, whether it was an overnight success, or a total flop, you are in the position to greatly improve your stance on future prospects, you will have learned a lot. However, how much of these pieces of information get logged in some miscellaneous file, never to be seen again? You may remember the project being a huge success, or a catastrophic failure, but even in the greatest, most spectacular failings, are gold mines of information to be pillaged for future reference. Without failure, we never truly value the idea of success.

Larry Navarre of Kettering University also highlighted waste deriving from waiting, testing to specifications, and poor tools. His full powerpoint on the concept of Lean Product and Process Development is available to read online

Navarre also proposed that the solution, which would significantly reduce these types of waste in the workplace, is the process of implementing Lean Project, and Process Development.

By engaging in what is referred to as LAMDA, a cyclical process of looking, asking, modelling, discussing, and acting, before looking again, allows data transformation, where it can be filed as usable knowledge as stored in a variety of accessible systems such as trade-off curves and design checklists. LAMDA, certainly reminds us of the agile process of scrum: the practice of working in set intervals, also known as “sprints”, with the goal of quickly gathering information & feedback and implementing it into the work.

Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (, is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address:

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